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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Spring Fling

Whoever thought of the name Spring Fling for ‘Scotland’s premier art and craft open studios event’ deserves a medal. So much joy is conveyed by two simple words, so much is on view during the three days of this late May event.

Set up in 2003, Spring Fling takes place in south west Scotland, showcasing the work of about 100 artists and makers: painters, potters, printmakers, sculptors, photographers, furniture makers, jewellery designers, glass artists and more. All this in lovely, unspoilt - and for many people, undiscovered - countryside. There’s plenty of wonderful coastline too.

As usual, the well-designed and informative Spring Fling programme drops through the post several weeks beforehand which gives us plenty of time to decide on a route through Dumfries and Galloway and which of the studios to visit. We normally make an initial beeline for Kircudbright, because there’s a cluster of studios in and around the small harbour town, and then take it from there.

I admit we’ve got our favourites scattered across the region, those we annually pop in to see. There’s Trevor Leat (willow sculptures, pic), for instance, Morag Macpherson (textiles, pic), and Clare Dawdry (potter/ceramist). But over the years we’ve also discovered the work of architectural blacksmith Adam Booth, glass artist Amanda Simmons, and this year Lizzie Farey (willow artist), painter Heather M Nisbet, jeweller Kathryn King and Jennie Ashmore who makes beautiful collages from leaves and flowers she collects in the countryside (pic).

In Cumbria in a couple of months time (September 10-25) there’s a similar event called C-Art which, like Spring Fling, gives people the opportunity to meet artists and makers in their studios and talk to them about their creations. It’s a great way to buy original work from the many talented individuals who paint and print, design and make in this part of the world. And you get to explore some pretty nice countryside at the same time.

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